In 1928, Adolph Schleicher, owner of Samson Tire and Rubber Company had a small factory in Compton, California but decided to move to a bigger location in East of Los Angeles. The factory in East Los Angeles became the largest manufacturing facility to the West of the Mississippi; it took 8 million dollars to create. This factory was modeled after the 7th century BC Assyrian Palace of King Sargon II, the wall surrounding the tire plant featured heraldic griffins and bas-reliefs of Babylonian princes.
In 1930, the Samson Tire and Rubber Company opened and the castle like building became known to many as the Citadel
The Samson Tire Company only operated for a year and sold the factory to the US Tire Company due to effects of the Great Depression. In 1962, the US Tire Company changed its name to the Uniroyal Tire Co. After 40 years of operation, the factory was closed in 1977.
|Picture of the abandoned citadel right after the Uniroyal Tire Company closed in 1977|
For most of the next decade the building became abandoned, In 1982, California State Historical Resources Commission approved the site nomination to the National Register of Historic Places in order to preserve the building. The following year the City of Commerce purchased the property for a total of $14 million dollars.
According to a Los Angeles Times article in 1990,
Trammell Crow won the right to develop the project after assuring city officials that it would tread lightly on the landmark. It spent $6 million to restore and renovate the administration building and walls
Overall the Trammel Crow Company spent $118 million, on the 742,000 square foot mixed-use project which included a factory outlet retail center, five office buildings, a food court and a 201-room Wyndham Garden Hotel.
In 2003, the Craig Realty Group purchased the Citadel Outlets for $53 million from the City of Commerce Redevelopment Agency and expanded the Citadel into one of the biggest outdoor outlet malls in California.
Ben-Hur (1959) was filmed at the Citadel, this movie won a total of 11 Academy Awards and 3 Golden Globes.